News: July 21, 2020

Sub: Society
Topic: Social Welfare Children and Women
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 1/5

Children Related Acts And Bodies


Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (PCPNDT)

The Act was enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. 

  • The act banned prenatal sex determination
  • Central Supervisory Board (CSB) constituted under the Chairmanship of Minister for Health and Family Welfare has been further empowered for monitoring the implementation of the Act
  • State level Supervisory Boards in the line of the CSB constituted at the Centre has been introduced for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the Act in States/UTs.
  • Appropriate Authorities are empowered with the powers of Civil Court for search, seizure and sealing the machines, equipments and records of the violators of law including sealing of premises and commissioning of witnesses
  • It has been made mandatory to maintain proper records in respect of the use of ultrasound machines and other equipments capable of detection of sex of foetus and also in respect of tests and procedures that may lead to preconception selection of sex.
  • The sale of ultrasound machines has been regulated through laying down the condition of sale only to the bodies registered under the Act.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2012 Act

  • Comprehensive law to provide protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, pornography,  trafficking; while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms
  • The Act defines child age limit to be 18 years.
  • Puts legal duty to report, on a person with knowledge of sexual offence. Failing to do so invites imprisonment of six months
  • Police is required to report about sexual abuse to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours
  • Provides for Special Courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child. The case must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence reported
  • Punishment
    • Seven years to life imprisonment for "penetrative sexual assault"
      • POCSO, (Amendment) Act, 2019 amends it to minimum ten years, and at least 20 years if the minor is below 16 years 
    • Ten years to life imprisonment for "aggravated penetrative sexual assault"
      • Aggravated cases involve assault committed by public servants, relatives, or when assault injures organs of the child or child is mentally ill
      • POCSO, (Amendment) Act, 2019 amends it to minimum twenty years
    • Three to five years of imprisonment for "sexual assault"
    • Five to seven years of imprisonment for "aggravated sexual assault"
      • "Aggravated sexual assault" includes cases where the offender is a relative, or if the assault injures the sexual organs of the child
      • POCSO, (Amendment) Act, 2019 adds two more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault - (i) assault committed during a natural calamity, and (ii) administrating any hormone or chemical substance to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Case filed against marathi preacher Nivrutti Maharaj under PCPNDT
  • July, 20
    • POCSO - Father, three others held for sexual abuse of teen

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Defence
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 2/5

Indian Aircrafts And Ships

Fighter jets

  • MiG-29 / Baaz
    • Russian origin. Twin engine, single seater with a speed up to Mach 1.7
  • SU-30 MKI :
    • Russian origin. Licenced production done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
    • Twin seater, twin engine, carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles.
    • It has a maximum speed of 2 Mach with a single in-flight range of 3,000 km
  • Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas
    • Tejas is a 4+ generation, supersonic, highly maneuverable, multi-role, smallest and lightest aircraft in its class 
    • Designed and developed by DRDO, it can carry beyond visual range weapons
    • Tejas has a speed up to mach1.2 at low level and mach 1.8 at higher altitudes
  • Mirage 2000 / Vajra
    • French origin and maintained by HAL
    • Single engine fourth-generation jet fighter, and has maximum speed of Mach 2.5
  • MiG-21 Bison
    • First supersonic jet aircraft ever, the MiG 21 has a single seater cockpit with maximum speed of 1.05 mach 
  • SEPECAT Jaguar / Shamsher
    • French and British origin. Twin-engine, single-seater (IAF) ground attack aircraft 
    • Only the Indian Air Force is currently using the upgraded Jaguar in active duty.
    • Jaguars can accurately deliver heavy bomb loads at long ranges at low altitudes, but is incapable of flying high altitudes with heavy payload
    • Licenced production done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
  • Rafale
    • French origin. Twin engine, single and double seater.
    • Rafale has a speed up to mach1.1 at low level and mach 1.8 at higher altitudes and has mid air refueled capability
    • India will be integrating European-made SCALP and Meteor prolonged-array beyond visible selection (BVR) air-to-air missile into Rafale 
    • The aircraft are equipped with two standoff weapons- Mica air-to-air missile with 70 km range, Meteor air-to-air missiles, with a range of over 100 km, and Scalp air-to-ground missiles, with a range of 300 km.


  • Ka-226T : Russian origin. Light weight, twin engine utility helicopter
  • AH-64E Apache : US origin. India contracted 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales programme of the U.S. government in September 2015 under a $3 billion deal. Boeing’s joint venture in Hyderabad, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, has been producing aero-structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter for both the U.S. Army and international customers

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Defence
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 3/5

Defence Exercises


  • Malabar exercise
    • Annual naval drills since 2002. Aircraft carriers were involved from 2005. 2019 Malabar exercise happened in Japan.
    • First established in 1992 with India and USA as permanent members, Japan became permanent in 2015
    • Past non-permanent participants are Australia and Singapore
  • Passage (PASSEX) exercise
    • Conducted by Indian Navy in Indian Ocean Region with friendly nations

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Indian Navy conducts PASSEX exercise with USS Nimitz

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Space
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 4/5

Global Space Agencies

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


  • Parker Solar Probe
    • Launched in 2018
    • Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the Sun-Earth system. It will try to assist understanding of corona and solar winds.
    • NASA's parker probe will orbit as close as 3 million miles in its final stages

China National Space Administration (CNSA)


  • Tianwen-1 /  Huoxing-1
    • The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, and the mission aims to study the thickness and sub-layer distribution of the Martian soil.
    • China's previous attempt, in partnership with Russia, to Mars in 2011 was unsuccessful. This will be China's first solo attempt

European Space Agency (ESA)


  • Solar Orbiter
    • Joint mission between ESA and NASA launched in Febuary 2020 on United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket
    • Solar Orbiter is traveling as close as 26 million miles from the Sun, inside the orbit of Mercury to measure the magnetic fields, waves, energetic particles and plasma escaping the Sun, while they are still in their pristine state, before being modified and mixed in their long journey from the Sun. 
    • Solar Orbiter joins NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in studying our star from closer than any spacecraft before them 


  • United Arab Emirates
    • Al-Amal / Hope: First Arab space mission to Mars launched from Japan. It will orbit Mars for a whole Martian year

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Al-Amal / Hope launches from Japan
    • Tianwen-1 launches from CNSA

Sub: Politics
Topic: Executive
Category: Prelims & Mains


News: 5/5

Parliamentary Committees

Parliamentary Committee means a Committee which is:

  1. Appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker
  2. Works under the direction of the Speaker
  3. Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker
  4. Has a secretariat for provided by the Lok Sabha Secretariat

Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Standing Committees and Ad hoc Committees

Standing Committees

Standing Committees are permanent and regular committees which are constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. The work of these Committees is of continuous nature.

  • Composition
    • Each DRSC consists of 31 members: 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha
    • Seats on each Committee are allocated to different parties and groups in the House, as far as practicable in proportion of their respective strength in the House.
    • Suitable numbers of seats on these Committees are also allocated to independents.
  • Chairperson: Chairperson of following 8 committees is chosen by Lok Sabha speaker from among its members. Rest 16 committees' chairperson is selected by Rajya Sabha Chairman
    1. Committee on Commerce
    2. Committee on Home Affairs
    3. Committee on Human Resource Development
    4. Committee on Industry
    5. Committee on Science & Technology and Environment & Forests
    6. Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture
    7. Committee on Health and Family Welfare
    8. Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice
  •  Functions:
    • To consider the Demands for Grants of the concerned Ministries/Departments, and make a report on the same to the Houses. The report shall not suggest anything of the nature of cut motions
    • They do not consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned Ministries/ Departments.
    • To examine such bills pertaining to the concerned Ministries/Departments
    • To consider Annual Report of Ministries/ Departments and make report thereon
    • To consider national basic long term policy documents presented to the House, if referred to the Committee by Chairman or Speaker.
    • Demands for Grants: After the general discussion on the Budget in the House is over, the Houses are adjourned for a fixed period. The Committees consider the Demands for Grants of the concerned Ministries during the aforesaid period and submit their report within the period without seeking any extension of time for the same.
  • Types
    • Financial standing committees (FSC)
      • Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
      • Estimates Committee
      • Committee on Public Undertakings
    • Department related standing committees (DRSC)
    • Other standing committees (OSC)
      • Committee on Subordinate Legislation
        • Scrutinize and report to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, bye-laws etc. conferred by the Constitution or delegated by Parliament are being properly exercised by the executive.
        • The Committee also examine provisions of Bills which seek to delegate powers to make 'Orders'
        • It has a total of 15 members nominated by Lok Sabha speaker / Rajya Sabha chairman, with maximum tenure of 1 year. If a member, after nomination to the Committee is appointed a Minister, such member shall cease to be a member of the Committee from the date of such appointment

Department related standing committees (DRSC)

Initially in 1989, there were only 3 subject committees: Agriculture, Environment & Forests, and Science & Technology. Based on their success, seventeen Departmental Committees were set in 1993, which was further increased to 24 in 2004 DSRCs have a total strength of 31 members- 10 Members from Rajya Sabha and 21 Members from Lok Sabha, with maximum term of 1 year

(Committees in focus)

  • Committee on Labour
    • Jurisdiction over: Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Textiles, and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
    • Reports: The Code on Social Security, 2019
  • Committee on Human Resource Development 
    • Jurisdiction over: Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Women & Children Development, and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports


Ad hoc Committees

Ad hoc Committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The principal Ad hoc Committees are the Select and Joint Committees on Bills. Railway Convention Committee, Joint Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex etc also come under the category of ad hoc Committees.

  1. A Minister is not eligible for election or nomination to the financial Committees, Department Related Standing Committees (DRSCs), and Committees on - Empowerment of Women, Government Assurances, Petitions, Subordinate Legislation, and Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  2. The proportion of number of Members of the two Houses on these Committees is approximately in the ratio of 2 Members of Lok Sabha to 1 of Rajya Sabha. 


[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Six months have passed since CAA Act was passed, but Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation has still not been notified by MHA for formation of rules of CAA.
  • Aug, 20
    • Committee on Labour in its report 'The Code on Social Security, 2019' recommended that the eligibility period for gratuity payable to an employee on termination of his employment should be reduced to one year from the present provision of five years
    • Committee on Human Resource Development : The current academic year will not be a "zero year" for colleges and higher education institutions, Education Ministry officials told committee


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